When speaking of power exchange relationships in BDSM, such as Dominance/submission (“D/s”), you may occasionally hear some people claim, “it’s the sub who truly holds the power.” Often this is followed with the assertion that submission is a “gift”. While there is truth to this, it’s not the whole truth.
The first error is the implication that power is held by one person: the sub. Just like outside of our kinky play, everyone has power. It’s just up to you whether you’re going to exercise it or give it up.
So, while the submissive does in fact hold power, so does the Dominant. Both roles involve having and expressing power. The sub can be controlled only as much as they allow and the Domme will control only as much as they are willing.
This is a symbiotic relationship. It’s characterized by interdependence. One is defined by the existence of the other.
In other words: while it’s true that without a sub the Domme has no one to control, it’s also true that without a Domme the sub has no one to be controlled by. They are both receiving benefits from — and giving “gifts” to — one another.